Apple Mac mini Core Duo: The fruit takes root in the living room

“Although the Mac mini has been around for more than a year, the big recent news has been the switch from Apple’s own internal processors to Intel CPUs, either the 1.5-gigahertz Core Solo or the 1.66-GHz Core Duo—new handles for Intel’s multitasking marvel, the dual-core processor. These two preconfigured versions of the mini offer “good” and “better” specs. I reviewed the latter. Both share an identical form factor, which is breathtakingly compact and has a metal perimeter topped by a goes-with-everything white plastic roof adorned with the Apple logo. The front edge features a slot for the SuperDrive, which can do almost everything with optical media, including burning to dual-layer DVD. Not surprisingly, power comes by way of an external brick in the AC cord, which you won’t have to see once you tuck it behind other gear,” Chris Chiarella writes for Home Theater Magazine.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple switched Macs from PowerPC processors (AIM alliance: Apple, IBM, Motorola) to Intel processors.

“DVDs play at a maximum resolution of 480p via the DVI output. They tend to take on an unpleasant digital look, though, with visible decompression that doesn’t appear to be big-screen ready. What else, then, are you to watch? One glaring omission amid all of this happy minimalism is a TV tuner, and therefore any sort of integrated DVR functionality. Elgato offers the Plextor ConvertX PVR add-on as a software solution, but this approach thwarts the Mac mini’s austere aesthetic. In my opinion, nothing should be visibly connected that’s more conspicuous than the occasional visiting iPod. The Internet is a limitless repository of content, and Apple makes available a growing collection of clips—mostly movie trailers—in true high definition, all the way up to 1080p resolution,” Chiarella reports.

More here.

Related articles:
Apple Mac Mini brain replaced with 2.16GHz Intel ‘Merom’ Core 2 Duo and benchmarked – June 09, 2006
Mac mini Core Duo 1.66GHz with 512MB RAM vs 1GB RAM – March 13, 2006
Mossberg: Apple’s new Mac mini ‘a solid addition to any entertainment center’ – March 09, 2006
PC Magazine review gives Apple Mac mini 4 out of 5 stars – March 08, 2006
Chicago Tribune: Apple’s new Intel-based Mac mini might make you switch from Windows – March 07, 2006
Mac mini 6-button remote, Front Row typify Apple’s ‘sophisticated simplicity’ strategy – March 06, 2006
Reader report: 1080p 24fps playback on Mac mini Core Duo plays fine – March 03, 2006
Apple Mac mini’s Intel GMA950 Integrated Graphics Core reviewed – March 01, 2006
Apple’s new Mac mini a HDTV media center in disguise? – March 01, 2006
Apple’s new Mac mini: perfect for HDTV – March 01, 2006
Analyst: Apple’s new Mac mini ‘a good first step into the living room’ – February 28, 2006
Apple introduces new Intel-based Mac mini – February 28, 2006


  1. All you need is to buy a receiver that up converts 480p to 1080p, that way whatever source you are looking at will be nice.

    It would be nice if that up conversion would happen with the Macs own internal DVD player.

  2. I wouldn’t harp on the guy for saying “Apple’s own processors.” Apple is part of the AIM alliance. And, really, what other computer manufacturer uses G3/G4/G5 CPUs? Give the guy a break! His explanation is more than sufficient for his non-technical intended audience.

    The thing I wanted to point out, is that the lack of PVR is supposed to be supplanted by downloading TV episodes from the iTunes Music Store. (Whether they’re up to snuff or not isn’t the issue. Apple’s not going to include a PVR just so that Cable TV can compete with its own downloading service.)

  3. I have used a few DVD players on my Sharp 45″ Aquos.

    Component connectivity from my Sony DVD player is actually a lot worse than DVD that’s because the TV is doing the upconversion, and its pretty rudimentary at best – despite what a bitchin monitor it is.

    I think that short of a dedicated upconverting DVD player or stand-alone up converter for all your 480 devices, you don’t have a better way of watching DVD’s on your big digital monitor than DVD

  4. “DVDs play at a maximum resolution of 480p via the DVI output. They tend to take on an unpleasant digital look, though, with visible decompression that doesn’t appear to be big-screen ready.”

    What? I don’t know what planet this guy is on but dvd’s look amazing on my Mini Core Duo + Sharp Aquos setup. And according to my Aquos it’s displaying the DVD’s at 720p. Maybe the tv is up converting the signal. My guess is that the mini they were testing only had the standard amount of ram. I, on the otherhand, maxed mine out.

  5. If your display resolution is set to 1280 x 720 then the TV should always see it as 720p. This means that the Mac is doing the upscaling and will have a very nice picture when played through DVD Player.

  6. Well, whatever it is, it looks friggin great. Especially with animated features. I recently had the firmware on my Aquos updated. The guys from the local Sharp authorized service center were astonished at the clarity of Finding Nemo. They drooled over the Mini, they hadn’t seen anything like it. FrontRow blew the away, too. Especially the movie trailer feature. They hung out for an extra 30 minutes just watching the trailers and checking out the features.

  7. Greg,
    Apple’s part in the AIM alliance was to provide the OS, not the processor, so no, Apple was not using it’s own processors before the switch to Intel. And the PPC architecture has been used in other equipment since its inception.

    And guess what’s inside the Xbox and upcoming Playstation 3? You guessed it: Power architecture. So does that mean that “Apple” is powering the xBox? Of course not, because the Power architecture is IBM’s baby.

  8. i was blown away with the quality when I used the dvd player app to play video ts files. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but it’s much better than watching a dvd directly. It’s handy too since the ts files can be on any networked mac with a gigbit connection.

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